Salted readers, I wish you could've been at the Indianapolis Zoo with me this past Friday. It was amazing!
Also, now that the Vengeance Trilogy is finished, I'm diving back into the Salt world, friends. What better way to celebrate than a trip to the Indy Zoo where it all began.
I thought of you all every step of the way and snapped some pictures for those of you who've never been.
The zoo has changed a lot from the one I remember as a kid. I think they had the cheetah exhibit last time I was there (around 2010), but they've added a massive three-story butterfly house and the orangutan exhibit was incredible.
One thing that hasn't changed?
The statues outside the zoo.
Somewhere in the black hole of Mom's photo albums, there is a picture of me in 1st grade with me and my "girlfriend" hugging on this statue. >>>>>
Salted fans might recall this statue is the same that Sydney forces Garrett to take a picture at with her.
The wife said I look about as thrilled as Garrett was when she snapped this photo. #keeper
But before we go inside the zoo, a funny aside.
As I stood in line at the ticket counter, a stroller bumps against the back of my legs. My first thought - someone behind me didn't stop in time. Accident, right?
Then it happened again.
A mom says something to her kids behind me.
The stroller bumps me again.
Trying to be more like Garrett and keep the Lenny in me at bay, I say nothing. Just wish the line ahead of me would move forward already.
The stroller hits me again.
"Oh my gosh," says the mother. "I'm so sorry."
I wave it off and mumble no worries, (continuing to fight Lenny's plea to allow him his day in the sun), then walk into the zoo.
The mother laughs. "Aaron?"
Then I turn around and see a pair of old friends from high school. What are the odds, right?
Anyway, totally random, but just another reminder you never know who your path might cross with while at the Indy Zoo.
One of the many things I love about the Indy Zoo is the seal and sea lion exhibit is smack dab in front of you the moment you walk through the entry gates.
I typically say hey to my Selkie friends outside first before venturing further into the zoo.
(*Sydney recommends waiting to visit the air conditioned underwater exhibits until the afternoon when it's hot outside.)
Like Garrett and Sydney, we wandered through the rest of the zoo, checking out the new exhibits and the old standbys.
Maybe it was because I typically visit in the spring and fall when there isn't as much foliage, or perhaps it was the orangutan exhibit taking up loads of space near the desert exhibit - (where Marisa Bourgeois escapes Chidi and Paulo) - but the zoo felt smaller.
Then again, maybe I'm just getting old.
Anyway, I'm a delayed gratification sort, so I wanted to hold off on the dolphin show until near the end. We circled back to the aquariums exhibit and I was thrilled to see Little Miss come alive once we entered through the darkened doorway.
The zoo must have installed some air filtration systems because I didn't smell fish like I remember from all the field trips we took as students. The sting rays were amazing and Little Miss reminded me that jellyfish would sting me if I tried to touch them (through the glass).
After taking her to "pet" the sharks, we went to see our Selkie friends swimming underwater.
Lenny wasn't waiting for me in the shadows, but I did get the willies after taking the above picture.
My family had already ventured ahead to check out the penguins and I found myself alone in front of the exhibit (which never happens, btw). I could've stayed there watching the seals and sea lions swim for another hour or two, but we had to keep moving.
You can probably guess where we headed next...
It was nearly six years ago, sitting in this same dolphinarium that the Salt story clicked for me. I went home to our apartment in Fishers right after and started listing out all the ideas flooding my mind.
It felt incredible to be back with two Salt books down and preparing to write the third.
Even throughout the show, I found myself watching my family and the faces of others more than I was the show. This will sound corny, but there really is something magical about when the lights go dim, the blue waters glow, and you hear the dolphins sounding off to one another.
If you haven't been to the Indy Zoo, I highly recommend going. Who knows what (or who) you might see. ;)
Author. Actor. Rascal.